China, Portugal ink BRI cooperation deal

2018-12-06 08:00     Comment:0

LISBON – Portugal’s government yesterday said it would cooperate with China in the hope of creating “new silk roads” of trade, referring to Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Xinhua pointed out that China and Portugal pledged yesterday to jointly push forward the construction of the BRI project to strengthen Asia-Europe connectivity and boost global trade.

The consensus was reached during a meeting between visiting President Xi Jinping and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Xinhua said.

The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly advancing the construction of the BRI project after the meeting, which was witnessed by the two leaders. The memorandum reportedly places special emphasis on transport and energy
Lisbon and Beijing used Xi’s two-day state visit, which ended yesterday, to ink 17 bilateral cooperation memoranda of understanding including one relating to China’s ensemble of investment in infrastructure designed to link Asia, Africa and Europe.

“We are going to pursue [the Belt and Road Initiative] in a spirit of openness and mutual gain to create further synergies between our development strategies and underpin the construction of new silk roads,” Xi told a news conference.

Xi described Portugal as “an important hub in the land and maritime silk routes.”

In a speech at the end of his two-day state visit, Xi said his visit had generated “very successful results in developing our strategic partnership.”

The Portuguese government welcomed the move on deepening in “a vast range of sectors.”

In contrast with Britain, where largest mobile provider BT said yesterday it was shutting out equipment from Shenzhen-based telecoms giant Huawei ahead of the rollout of next-generation 5G internet networks owing to security concerns, Portugal said its door remained open.

Telecoms operator MEO, subsidy of France’s Altice, revealed it has agreed to cooperate with Huawei in order to “accelerate the development of the 5G network in Portugal.”

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa recently announced his intention of giving the green light to a plan for integrating Portugal’s south-western deepwater port of Sines into the “new silk roads” roadmap.

Costa yesterday underlined “the importance of Portugal’s strategic role in linking silk roads with the ensemble of connections between Europe and Asia.”

Costa described the BRI memorandum as a “strategic affirmation” of Portugal’s place in connecting Asia and Europe. No details of the terms of the deal were released.

Costa, who heads a Socialist minority government, also said that Portugal will always ensure a relationship of trust with China, whether bilaterally or as part of the EU, based on the two countries’ five centuries of coexistence, Portugal’s Lusa newswire said.

Macau was ruled by Portugal between the mid-16th century and 1999, when the city reverted to Chinese administration.

President Xi Jinping (left) and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa pose after their meeting at the Queluz Palace on the outskirts of Lisbon yesterday. – AFP


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